I Have A Child With Scoliosis
How to help your child own their scoliosis
Your child just received a scoliosis diagnosis. You may feel overwhelmed and even a little bit frightened. More than likely you’ve received conflicting information and advice, and you don’t know who to trust. But there’s one thing you do know: you’re not content to sit around and wait to see if your child’s scoli gets any worse—you’re going to do everything in your power to halt it. I understand this, and a whole lot more. I, too, have scoliosis, and so do most of my clients. I can help you sort through any confusion surrounding scoliosis. Let’s get started.
1. TAKE a deep breath
My company, Spiral Spine, has many resources and ways to help your child. Breathe in slowly, then exhale slowly. Repeat. Help has come.
2. WATCH the Starting Point Series
These short videos will teach you how to begin helping your child. They will introduce you to my method and prepare you and your child to use scoli-specific movement strategies.
3. READ these helpful blogs
"How Do You Help a Scoli Client? Movement!"
While this blog post is aimed at Pilates instructors, you’ll learn why movement is one of the keys to managing scoliosis.
"Research Shows a Supplement Reduces Scoliosis"
New research shows that certain supplements may have an effect on reducing spinal curvature or may delay the onset of scoliosis. Please take a read to decide if this is an avenue you'd like to pursue.
"Do Back Braces Help Scoliosis?"
Back braces are a very important part of your child's scoliosis story and not every brace is created equal.
"Braces and Scoliosis"
Did you know that braces can have a role in the development of scoliosis? If you're considering them for your child or your child has had them, this blog will help you understand an important piece of your child's scoliosis story.
4. USE a Scoliometer
A scoliometer helps measure vertebral rotation. It is useful to track regular measurements before and after exercise. A decrease in rotation is correlated with movement that is good for your child’s body and helps untwist their spiral spine. You’ll use the scoliometer to check your child’s back before and after exercises.
If you need a refresher on how to use a scoliometer, you can re-watch the intro video in the Starting Point Series.
Once you have a scoliometer it will be important to keep a log of your child's measurements. The scoliometer tracking chart will help you do that easily, and it also has a place for notes. Things that have affected your child that week (illness, long car rides, lots of lifting, etc.) are good to put down in the notes column. You’ll begin to see patterns as to what helps your child's body feel its best.
The "Scoliometer Tracking" blog post will help you and your child understand the importance of regular scoliometer use.
5. READ The Beautiful Scoliotic Back
This inspirational book, featuring stories of others with scoli who have successfully taken control of their quality of life, will help you take a proactive approach towards managing your child’s diagnosis.
6. GET My Scoli Journal for your child
Designed for the teenager with scoliosis, this journal allows your child to record the physical and emotional aspects of their scoli. Treating this as a diary, your child will make notes as to what helps their scoli and what makes them feel good, while guiding and allowing them to work through the many emotions scoli often brings forth.
7. GATHER props with your child & put them in a special place
To start, whatever you have around your house that your child can work out with is great. Some ideas are yoga mats, towels, balls, shelf liner (for padding), foam rollers, and yoga blocks.
Find a special basket or container for your child’s props. You can even encourage them to decorate it to help them own their diagnosis and feel more positively towards their workout.
If you don't have any props and don't know where to buy some, you can click on the picture to the right to access my curated list.
8. EXERCISE at home with me
My Pilates studio offers virtual group scoliosis classes on both the Mat and Reformer. Classes are open to all curves and fusions. Knowledge of where your pads and breath go is recommended prior to class. This is taught in a private lesson. View the schedule.
I also have several prerecorded workouts that can be done at home. They contain movements specifically designed to help untwist your child’s spine and help them get moving.
Scoliosis Series: Balanced Body
9. WATCH Kids with Scoliosis
While aimed at practitioners, this video discusses my unique, light-hearted approach for working with kids with scoliosis. The video will help you learn how to deal with the emotional side of your child's scoliosis. You'll also see what kind of local practitioner you should look for to work with your child.
10. FIND a practitioner and have your child take a lesson
Look for someone in your town that will listen to you and that your child feels comfortable with. Share the scoliometer app, tracking chart and the Starting Point Series with them. Ask them to use these to help your child. If you are having trouble finding someone locally, many of my staff and I offer virtual lessons.
If you’ve found a practitioner that you like, but they need a bit more knowledge about how to work with those who have scoli, I have many resources specifically for practitioners. Refer them to the Practitioners with Scoliosis Clients.
11. ATTEND Scoliosis Intensive
This two-day workshop is perfect if you live too far away to come to the Spiral Spine Pilates Studio regularly. Anyone with scoliosis is welcome to attend, no matter if they have a 6 or 70-degree curve or if they're fused or unfused. Erin and her staff will work with your child to help them understand their scoli. We keep the ratios small (3 people with scoli: 1 teacher) so your child can get the maximum benefit.
During the workshop your child will learn in a hands-on, easy-to-understand way how to:
- use a scoliometer and regularly track their progress
- appropriately pad their back
- perform research-backed strengthening and release exercises that can be done at home
- figure out the individual exercises their body needs most
- modify exercises in group classes
- develop a game plan for when they return home so they can continue helping their unique body and live their best life
12. ASSEMBLE your child’s dream team
This team will help keep your child feeling their best. Ideally it includes a movement practitioner (Pilates instructor, fitness coach, etc.) and a trained body worker. While movement is important, it is not the only key to living a pain-free life. A skilled body worker will help relax tight muscles that your child may not even be aware of. Again, you’ll want to look for someone who works with scoliosis patients or who is open to listening to you and your child. If you need more information on different kinds of body workers, re-watch video 5 in the Starting Point Series.
13. ENCOURAGE your child to keep it up
Having scoliosis means constant, daily work. Regular movement and release will help your child live their best, pain-free life. Your child and their spine are worth it, I promise.